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Writing as an Act of Generosity


Writing as an Act of Generosity

Tom Engelhardt

Every now and then, I teach a class to young would-be journalists and one of the first things I talk about is why I consider writing an act of generosity. As they are usually just beginning to stretch their writerly wings, their task, as I see it, is to enter the world we’re already in (it’s generally the only place they can afford to go) and somehow decode it for us, make us see it in a new way. And who can deny that doing so is indeed an act of generosity?


Writing, as a form of truth-telling, is not only an act of generosity but an often rewardless act of sacrifice. As the poet Adrienne Rich said, “Everything your write will be used against you.” Unless one is lucky enough to land a paying position, writing truths or opinions not officially approved of will get you fired and unofficially black-listed in this digital age. I can personally attest to this reality but I continue to write and would never give in to the pressure of the filthy power structure.


Amen. And thank you, Tom.